Three suspected drug barons have been apprehended at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos State, after allegedly swallowing 233 wraps of powdery substances that tested positive for cocaine with a weight of 5.05 kilogrammes.
The suspects were apprehended during an outward screening of passengers by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigerian Tribune reports.
Two of the suspects, Obiekwe Frank Chuma and Okoye Jacob Okwuchukwu, were going to Hong Kong while Chukwunyere Prince Emmanuel was caught on his way to Italy.
Obiekwe Frank Chuma, who said that he used to be a textile merchant before he suffered financial setback, declared:
“I lost my father when I was at Merchant of Light Secondary School between 1983 and 1988. I was given admission at Edo State University but dropped out in 300 level due to lack of sponsorship.
“In 1997, I came to Lagos and started textile business. Later, I began to buy my goods from Czech Republic and Hong Kong before my business suffered setback. In the process of looking for assistance, I was introduced into drug trafficking. I was given the drug in a restaurant in Onitsha and they promised to pay me $10,000. It took me eight hours to swallow the drugs but I was arrested at the airport.”
Okoye Jacobs Okuchukwu said that he met his sponsor at a wedding ceremony.
“I have a Diploma in Computer Science at the Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Enugu. I used to import textiles from Dubai and Hong Kong. My business was flourishing and I have travelled to Hong Kong over 15 times. I later had problem that took my capital and I was stranded. That was what led me into drug trafficking.
“I was forced to swallow drugs for many hours in order to continue with my textile business. They promised to pay me over one million naira.”
Chukwunyere Prince Emmanuel said that he smuggled drugs to settle his bills.
“I am a businessman. I supply teaching materials. Armed robbers attacked me and I lost one of my eyes in the process. As I speak, I owe over N15 million. I am unable to pay my rent, my children’s school fees and even feeding. I have no rest of mind because my creditors are on my neck daily. This is my first time of trafficking drugs and I was promised 4,000 euros.”
NDLEA commander at the Lagos Airport, Mr. Hamza Umar, who gave a breakdown of the seized drugs, declared;
“Obiekwe Frank Chuma, 47 years old, ingested 80 wraps weighing 1.930 kilogrammes during screening of Emirates passengers; Okoye Jacob Okwuchukwu, 43 years old, was found to have ingested 70 wraps weighing 1.515 kilogrammes during screening of passengers on an Etihad flight while Chukwunyere Prince Emmanuel, 39 years old, ingested 83 wraps weighing 1.605 kilogrammes.
“Emmanuel was going to Bologna in Italy through Frankfurt on Lufthansa. They have voluntarily recorded their statements and our investigators are working on their cases.”